Whisky Advocate

Coal Ila adds a 25 year old to their stable

June 23rd, 2010

You’ll never see me complaining about more Caol Ila whiskies. I personally like the existing 12 yr. old better than the 18 yr. old, so what does this mean for this new 25 yr old.?  We’ll see.

I’m looking forward to trying it. That I know for sure.

Press Release:


A new member of the Caol Ila™ family of single malt Scotch whiskies has been announced by Diageo.

A 25 year old single malt Scotch Whisky is now joining this highly popular and award-winning collection. Caol Ilahas been distilled on the eastern shore of Islay since 1846.

Tasters have described the 25-year-old Caol Ila (bottled at 43% ABV) as majestic, sweet, smooth, slow-burning  –  and with an elegant, lightly smoky profile that brings to mind the faint yet resolute outline of the distillery itself, silhouetted in the soft moonlight of a still winter’s night. Yet it is welcome as an authentic example of that Caol Ila character first seen in the early years of Queen Victoria’s reign. Here are all those spicy sea-air aromas and sweet smoky-dry flavours, but with the subtlety of expression that comes only with age.

It will be the most mature member of the dynasty, standing alongside a 12 year old, an 18 year old, a natural cask strength bottling, a Distillers Edition™, and some limited edition younger expressions.

The new bottling is presented in a strengthened version of  the same striking black and grey cartons as the regular series, but with a pull-off  front-facing lid. The distillery looks to the east: the evening darkness falls early here at Caol Ila. So the pack image for the 25 year old hints at the vestiges of daylight fading behind Cnoc Dubh, the Black Hill behind the distillery.

The Caol Ila 25 year old will initially be available in the UK, the Nordic markets, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands, Japan, Taiwan and in travel retail channels in Europe.

The UK Recommended Retail Price is £135.

No Responses to “Coal Ila adds a 25 year old to their stable”

  1. B.J. Reed says:

    Will be good to compare with existing 25 YO which is at 43 ABV

  2. Alex says:

    I like the 12 and 18 – very different animals – and the 25 would be a welcome addition but I would have hoped for 46% abv. Looking forward to the tasting notes and given the Euro and Asia Pacific centric release, will you be reviewing or your “new” European based tasters?

  3. I thought the Caol Ila 25 was cask strength? I just checked the cellar & mine is.

    • B.J. Reed says:

      Bill you mean the new one? – I am pretty sure my 25 is at 43 but I will double check when I go home.

  4. DavidG says:

    This one is also at 43%, and I have seen this on shelves for the last 3-4 years. Is there a change other than packaging.
    The cask strength one Bill is describing is (I believe) 5 years old.

  5. bgulien says:

    The trend is to lower the abv to squeeze a bit more bottles from the casks.
    Makes economic sense.
    Not for the whisky enthusiast. I buy my Caol Ila at the Bladnoch forum. A 30 yo at cask strength for GBP 50 and it’s very good.
    The best however is, in my opinion, the Natural Cask Strength from Caol Ila with no age statement.
    The 12 yo is also pretty good.

    • mongo says:

      re the bladnoch forum shop: how much do they charge per bottle for shipping to the u.s?

  6. Michael Z says:

    ….no pricing for North America as yet?…..12 year is wonderful….8 year unpeated is a stunner….’on we go’….

  7. mongo says:

    this is new? there’s been a 25 year old caol ila on the shelves in minnesota for a while. there’s no reference here to the existing one, let alone any sign of what’s different about this (if it is indeed different).

  8. Red_Arremer says:

    Tasters have described the 25-year-old Caol Ila (bottled at 43% ABV) as bringing to mind the faint yet resolute outline of the distillery itself, silhouetted in the soft moonlight of a still winter’s night”…?

    A taster said that? Taster*s* (more than one) said that? Nothing like whisky industry PR on hot afternoon.

  9. Matt L says:

    Has anyone tried the Blackadder 1981 19yo Caol Ila? A local store has this bottling and I’m tempted to pull the trigger. The 1989 Signatory bottling is one of my favorites.

    • DavidG says:

      Do they have it priced as if it came in 10 years ago – if it is then run and get it before everyone here finds out where you live and tries to scoop it up 😉
      No, seriously, if you don’t want it I do

      • Matt L says:

        I’d say it’s priced right in line with current offerings of Caol Ila or slightly below. Would it be declasse or prohibited to mention the actual price?

        • DavidG says:

          I would take the plunge and buy it, and if its in a store that ships, I most likely would personally buy it.

          • Matt L says:

            Since I’ve got some other things coming in this week (Yay Oogie!), I’ll be a good neighbor and share. I do believe Spec’s ships –

    • TheMandarin says:

      I haven’t had that one but I owned the 14yr Cask Strength Caol Ila Blackadder. Truly incredible.

      • Matt L says:

        Need to admit an error – the bottling was listed as Blackadder on the website, but when I went into the store itself yesterday, turns out it’s McGibbons. Hope this doesn’t cause anybody any problems.

        • DavidG says:

          Binnys cleared it out about three years ago for $30, and it was barely worth the price. I noticed the description on the website and took a pass. Hope you are enjoying your new Ardbeg, and thanks for the help anyway.

  10. John Hansell says:

    I have to admit that I wish it were bottled at a higher strength. 46% even.

  11. Patrick says:

    43% is a bit weak.
    Compared to the previous 25 YO (that was cask strength), the strength is down, but the price up.

    They just released a new Cragganmore 14 YO for the Friends of Classic Malts, but bottled only at 40%.

    I am slightly surprised by this new trend.

    • Neil Fusillo says:

      I’m honestly not. As whisky continues to grow in popularity, they are going to be trying everything they can to maximise profits based on the trend and the product you have available. Younger whiskies, vanishing age statements, and lower ABVs are pretty much the staple ways to ensure you have product to meet the rising demand. There’s only SO much available.

      Remember, a 25 year old whisky had to be casked 25 years ago, when they decided to the best of their ability what the market requirements for their whisky would be. Some of that casks way back then would have become 12s and 18s, some of it would go into blends, and some of it would make its way to independents. There’s a very real chance that they simply didn’t have as much whisky devoted to the 25 year batch as would be required to meet current 2010 whisky demands, so they’ll need to stretch it out by lowering the ABV from cask strength to get more bottles on the shelves in the markets that want them.

      • joe hyman says:

        it’s still disheartening as a whisky enthusiast… i prefer to water it down myself, not dumb it down for the masses… what you fail to mention is that, at 43%, they have to chill-filter it to prevent clouding, which in turn reducing the volume significantly (i’m told, upwards of 15%!)… better of off keeping it at at least 46-48%, un-chillfiltered.

        • Neil Fusillo says:

          Well they don’t HAVE to chill filter it. I mean… I’m totally okay with cloudy whisky. 🙂 But they probably DO, as there’s nothing on the label that says otherwise (and that’s a marketing point they’d likely be pushing).

  12. joe hyman says:

    When is it supposed to be available? I’ll be passing thru Europe in August…
    BTW, I prefer the DE bottling…

  13. Martin says:

    Gents, William is correct in that there is a Caol Ila 25yr that is still currently available in most domestic markets that is natural cask strength (59.4% abv). It has been in the US for the past 4-5 years. It is listed on both Binny’s and West Lakeview Liquors websites in Chicago.

    If you seqarch around you will also find some remaining Caol Ila 10yr non-peated Cask Strength (65.8%) and in the fall there will be a 12yo Caol Ila non-peated cask strength, as well as the Distiller’s Edition, with a second maturation in dark Moscatel casks..

    See, there is something for everyone out there!

  14. Andre Girard says:

    The unpeated version of Caol Ila is a total blast… The cask Strength is my favorite. The 12 Yo is very decent for the price, the 18YO is quite unusual… The 25 YO is highly expected !

  15. martin says:

    If you have the 18yr, hold onto it or enjoy it since it may be a while till we get some more. Just sayin’…

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